Am I really decluttering if I just give my stuff to a relative?

We had our Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday this year and had nine of our relatives over to visit. I mentioned to them that I have started to declutter our house and that I was donating most of the 553 books in my room.

My aunt (not the one that just moved into the retirement home, another one) then asked if she could have a look at the books I was getting rid of to see if she wanted any. I said that was fine, thinking she might want one or two. But of the 60 books I had put into the donation pile so far, she took over 30! And these were mostly children’s books! My aunt is in her 50s.

So, while I am happy to get 30+ books out of the house right away, I have a feeling it’s going to come back and haunt me in the future. 25 years from now, when she has to move out of her house, I bet I’ll have to help her get rid of 30,000 books. (I don’t know exactly how many she has, but it’s a lot. She likes books more than our family and, that’s saying something). Her house is two-thirds the size of ours, but I’d estimate she has three times as many books as we do. She also has a storage locker full of books. Seriously.

So I’m feeling kind of bad, because now my poor uncle has another pile of books in his already cluttered house. A few years ago, we had to switch Easter from their house to our house because they had so much stuff, there wasn’t room for the family. So even though I myself am less cluttered, I feel bad that I have added to someone else’s clutter.

IMG_0957Perhaps I can look at this as finding a good home for my books, where they will be appreciated (because like I said, my aunt really loves books). And I can’t be all that judgemental because I am also guilty of accepting relatives’ cast-offs. My aunt (not the book lover, the one now in the retirement home) recently gave me her 8-setting, 6-piece bone china dish set, tablecloth and napkins. And I accepted them, even though we already have dozens of dishes. They really did make the table look nice, but I’m sure no one cared about what dishes we used. We were all just thankful that we had a delicious meal with family we love.

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